WASHINGTON: The World Health Organization (WHO) called a meeting of its emergency committee to decide whether the outbreak of the new coronavirus constitutes an international public health crisis.
“Preventing the spread of this epidemic both in China and internationally is the highest priority of the WHO,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said while delivering an online Geneva news conference, “We monitor the situation every single moment of the day,” he added.
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The advisory committee will also make suggestions on how to handle the crisis. Due to the seriousness of the situation, arrangements have been made for journalists from various world capitals to participate in the press conference.
Last week, the WHO committee met for two days and agreed that although the virus was a serious concern in China, it was not an international crisis yet. The vote at that time was closely divided, the meeting would decide if the virus is now an international emergency.
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On the other hand, the WHO team was assured by China’s National Health Commission that they had strong public health capabilities and resources to respond and handle this epidemic of respiratory diseases.